Experimental Black Bean Vegan Burger: Prototype 1 – $.33

Yeah, I’m not gonna’ lie- this is all one big experiment. I plan to improve the recipe by trying again and hopefully hearing some advice from you all who feel like experimenting too! I don’t mind buying veggie burgers, but they still have ingredients that I have no idea where they came from like protein packers, binders, stabilizers, flavor infusers and other junk. There’s just something about that I don’t feel totally comfortable with, so my goal is to make veggie burgers that taste SO much better than store-bought patties! Note: This recipe’s not for someone who wants to eat immediately! It kinda takes a while, but it’s worth it.

So this is how I did it…  Cut up 1/2 carrot and 1/2 bell pepper in very small pieces.

Add to a hot, greased pan with a sprinkle of salt. The reason we started with these first because they take the longest to cook. I don’t want to be eating my burger and bite down on a big, hard piece of carrot, ya know?

After you start to see color on the carrots and peppers, add 1/3 finely chopped onion. After a few minutes of those ingredients cooking, add a few cloves of crushed garlic.

After that mixture has some color to it, add 3-4 finely chopped mushrooms (or one portabello mushroom).

Now add your spices. I used chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic powder, worcestershire sauce, about 2 teaspoons or so of liquid smoke, and smoked paprika. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and remove from heat. If you don’t have smoked paprika that’s okay, but you should consider buying some! It’s amazing! Also, you really need liquid smoke for this to taste anything remotely close to a real burger since you can’t really grill these.

So, to bind all this stuff together I thought using black beans, sweet potatoes and rice would do the trick. (Note: Pre-boil 1/3 sweet potato and cook 1/4 cup of rice while the other veggies are cooking).

Looking back, I would say that you should put about 1/2 of the black beans in the veggie mixture on the stove, and put the other 1/2 in the blender, but I didn’t do that. So put the cooked rice, cooked sweet potato and 1/2 can of black beans in the food processor. Yes, I used a blender because that’s all I had, but I don’t recommend it! It was kind of a pain because it wasn’t quite watery enough. Nevertheless, it does work if that’s all you have- just keep stirring it up.

Important note: The rest of these photos are reminiscent of something you’d find in a toilet. You may giggle if you’d like.

So once the bean-sweet potato-rice mixture is pulverized, mix it with the cooked veggies and the 1/2 can of beans you saved. It should look something like this. The trick is to get it as thick as you can- don’t add any liquid besides the little bit of liquid smoke.

At this stage I stood in my kitchen for about 10 minutes trying to think of how to freeze these guys in a patty shape. The only thing I could think of was leftover tuna cans but I didn’t have any. So I just used a 1/2 cup measuring thingy and plopped it out on a big piece of plastic wrap. (It’s taking a lot of energy not to make poop jokes, I’ll be honest).

Wrap them up and place them on a plate or pan. Stick them in the freezer overnight. (At this stage, one of my roommates opened up the freezer and shouted, “Why is there poop in our freezer?!”)

So, the next day when you’re ready to eat it, there are a few options for you. I cooked it by heating the oven to Broil, putting the patty (without the plastic of course) on a pan. This just defrosted it though, and it still didn’t look very appetizing. So then I carefully moved it from the pan to a hot, greased nonstick skillet. I cooked it for 3-4 minutes on each side, only flipping once. What I should have done though, is use an oven-safe skillet so that I didn’t need to transfer it from the baking pan. Next time…

I didn’t have any buns or bread, so I just served it with a little cheese (yes, that’s not vegan I know) and spinach.

Here’s my feedback about it: the flavor is GREAT, especially with that liquid smoke in it. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was how fragile it was. It was too…mushy. Next time I’ll use 1/2 the can of beans in the mixture that aren’t mashed. I’ll also cut up fresh spinach and put it in there as well.

What do you guys think? How else could we bind the ingredients together without losing the vegan/vegetarian status? Tempeh? Chickpeas? Edamame? I’m definitely open to suggestions. You should try the first prototype for yourself though so you have an informed decision- it really was good!

1/3 onion – ~$.20

1/2 carrot – ~$.08

1/2 pepper – $.40

3 mushrooms – $.30

1 can black beans – $.59

1/4 cup rice – ~$.10

1/3 sweet potato – $.30

6 Burgers: ~$1.97

1 Burger: $.33

Yo, that is CHEAP!

About Ande Truman

Ande has made mistakes in the kitchen since she could reach the countertop. From a restaurant head cook, to cooking meals for friends, to her own solo plate, experimenting & learning drives her. She's also a freelance graphic & web designer, photo/videographer, guitar player and wanderlust-er. In her spare time, she works a full-time 8 to 5 cubicle job. She's the creator of Broke & Healthy.

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Categories: Black Beans, Carrots, Cheddar, Homestyle, Main Dishes, Mushrooms, Onion, Peppers, Recipes, Recipes by Ingredient, Sweet Potato, Vegan, Vegetarian

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2 Comments

Comments for Experimental Black Bean Vegan Burger: Prototype 1 – $.33 are now closed.

  1. I used Mark Bittman's "recipe" from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/18/dining/18mini.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all – #95 of 101.

  2. I have made black bean burgers with eggs, but ground flaxseed mixed with water is an egg substitute that should help as a binder… some people say 1 Tbsp flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water. It's often used in baking, but I'm not a burger expert!

    Adding liquid smoke is a great idea.